Equivalency tests for college coursework are available for a variety of academic disciplines. CLEP, DSST, Excelsior College Examination and GRE Subject exams can count as college credit at many universities. These exams allow students to test out of coursework by demonstrating their proficiency and knowledge in a given subject, saving them time and money.
Thirty-three CLEP tests are administered by the College Board at more than 1,400 centers across North America, many of them on college campuses. Exams correspond to typical introductory-level university coursework. At a cost of $77 as of 2010 for between 3 and 12 credit hours, they are much cheaper than most traditional college courses. Exams are computer based and multiple choice, and they last 90 minutes. Some exams have an optional essay section that universities may require for credit.
Offered by the Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support, the DANTES Subject Standardized Tests, or DSSTs, were developed by the Educational Testing Service for the U.S. Department of Defense. They are also available to nonmilitary personnel. You can choose from 38 tests in general areas of business, humanities, math, sciences, social sciences and education at testing centers throughout the country. There are also some subject tests that aren't available through CLEP or Excelsior.
Excelsior College Examinations
More than 200 Pearson Testing Centers across the United States and Canada administer the 51 Excelsior College exams. They are also available by special arrangement for persons living far from a testing center. Excelsior tests tend to focus on intermediate to advanced college coursework and last three to four hours. They range in price from $200 to $400.
GRE Subject Exams
Administered by the Educational Testing Service, GRE Subject tests are given in written form in October, November and April. As of 2010, these tests cost between $140 and $160. These three-and-a-half hour exams test knowledge in a given field at a bachelor's degree level. How much credit is awarded varies widely by school, with some colleges requiring higher scores for credit than others.